The obvious beneficiary of Rick Santorum’s decision to leave the presidential race is Mitt Romney, who effectively sewed up the Republican nomination. The development, though hardly surprising, had to be much less welcome for President Barack Obama’s re-election team.
Romney might have his weaknesses — starting with a somewhat fluid political identity — but he also has the capacity to connect with independent voters who are focused on the economy. Santorum’s resolute conservatism on social issues gave lift to his candidacy in primaries and caucuses in which evangelicals were a formidable force, but it also put a ceiling on his general-election potential.
Not so long ago, the pundit class was summoning its fantasy of a brokered convention in Tampa, Fla. But neither party has gone into a convention with an unsettled nomination since 1976, when President Gerald Ford fended off a challenge from Ronald Reagan.
Once again, the two party conventions will be reduced to fundraising fests for the parties and well-orchestrated infomercials to present to American voters. And once again, California and its June primary will be reduced to irrelevance in the selection of presidential nominees.
San Francisco Chronicle (April 10)